The following movie review was published in iMAGES on Sunday, August 22, 2010 with the edited title “Ferrel and Wahlberg score in cop land”. This is the unedited version. Links to the published version can be found at the end of the review.
“Funny or Die” in Cop Land
By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
As one of the other guys, in the Will Farrell dominated buddy-cop movie, "The Other Guys" Mark Wahlberg’s often desperate, die-hard wannabee detective becomes the lesser, if not wiser, half-part of a buddy cop formula. "I’m a peacock. You gotta let me fly!" he shouts to senior Michael Keaton, often in anxiety. His peacock is only one part of the Zoo in "The Other Guys".
In the Zoo, there is a fox (or was it a weasel), with his often unintelligible Ponzi schemes (Steve Coogan who I’m still hard-pressed to admit as the villain of this enterprise). And then there are the apes: Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the abominable super-cops, who bullet police cars into moving busses. Ten minutes later, the potty-mouth arrogant duo jump to their deaths while aiming their free-fall for imaginary bushes in the middle of New York City (one can easily blame their testosterone aroused fling to their botched egos). On second thought, apes are smarter.
In one of the film’s funniest sketch – the film is made around them – Mr. Wahlberg and Mr. Farrell argue, senselessly, with the imagination of a geeky stand-up comic, about lions swimming into the sea to kill tuna fish (and the tuna’s subsequent revenge). This skit graphs just how silly, irrelevant and genuinely funny "The Other Guys" really is.
"The Other Guys", co-written by Chris Henchy and director Adam McKay ("Talladega Nights", "Anchorman", "Step Brothers"), Mr. Farrell’s often collaborator, is a fixture that’s suspended somewhere between a cop movie – the money laundering scheme Steve Coogan rides on is implausibly realistic, and absolutely irrelevant to the plot – and a Saturday Night Live episode.
In fact, Mr. Farrell’s character, Allen Gamble, a buttoned-up accounting type who is an unaccountable draw for sensual-looking women (Eva Mendes, is his wife, go figure), could be the show’s recurring act. Gamble even has a back-story: as an undergrad he unknowingly becomes a pimp-don in College.
It is clear that the screen-time is tailored around Mr. Farrell, and his blatantly advertised red Prius. His other, Mr. Wahlberg – Terry Hoitz, is a necessary requirement for machoism. Mr. Wahlberg too has a back-story. But his is shunted-in to balance Mr. Farrell’s. Still, Mr. Wahlberg (or rather his body double) executes a brilliant pirouette in the middle of the movie. Later in the film, Hoitz tells Gamble that he learned to dance to mock the sissies at school.
The absurdity of the characters and the consistency of the one-line sketches reroute "The Other Guys" away from regular cop movies. It doesn’t go anywhere. But it does have a long life on cable and DVD.
The movie also stars Michael Keaton, Rob Riggle, Damon Wayans Jr., Lindsay Sloane, Natalie Zea, and Brett Gelman. The screenplay gives everyone just enough breathing space to fill out the film’s 107 minute running time (15-20 minutes less would have been better, though).
Released by Columbia Pictures, "The Other Guys" is rated PG-13. As a cop movie, it features big, noisy, action movie essentials (sometimes in slow-motion). Cars (almost always Mr. Farrell’s Prius) are chased by helicopters etcetera, etcetera.
By Farheen Jawaid
“The Other Guys” is a typical all over the place excursion for Will Ferrell and Director Adam Mckay. The duo has already given us the same deal in "Talladega Nights" and “Anchorman.” Again Ferrell does weird skits, but in a new location in a new guise. “The Other Guys” is set in New York City and the law enforcement, where the time-tried action/comedy/ buddy cop formula is put to test which only works in hiccups, like a car low on gas.
Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson are the big gun superstars of the police. In the city-tearing start of the movie, they get medals and fame and shuffle their paperwork to the other guys, the wannabe paper-pushing cop partners Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) and Allen Gamble (Ferrell).
Wahlberg dreams of being the hero of the city and yearns for his ex-girlfriend. Ferrell wishes the opposite: he hopes for a desk job and a cowed, happy life with his doctor wife Sheila (Eva Mendes, who he thinks is cute and doesn’t treat very well. But who genuinely loves him. This is something Hoitz can’t grasp, by the way).
The buddy cop niche genre already had the Bruce Willis starrer “Cop Out” out in the beginning of this year. “The Other Guys” doesn’t have that many laugh-out-moments as “Cop Out”; however its limited wacky skids and the breezy pace do have livability. The Wahlberg/Ferrell team works even if Wahlberg’s part is slighter than Ferrell’s (sometimes it looked intentionally smaller). “The Other Guys” is meant to entertain and then be forgotten. And I’ve done just that.
The published version can be found at: